Race Stories

SwashBuckler 70.3 May 2018

Bea Chapman writes “..6 weeks ago one of the guys at Optima offered me his spare entry to a 70.3 in the New Forest. It sounded like a great place to race, so I said yes!

For those who don’t know, a 70.3 is a 1.3 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

I cycle 80-100km most Sundays with the team and I have run 4 marathons, so I knew I could tackle the individual distances – it was just a case of putting them together…

Due to the tide, the race began at 5:15am which meant an unearthly alarm at 3:30am. The water temperature was a balmy 16 degrees, and the course was 3 laps around moored boats. It was a mass start so there was the usual battering until I found some clear water. Tom totally smashed his swim (coming out of the water in 2nd place!) Despite swimming not being my strong point, I probably came out in the first third of people.

T1 went terribly, I couldn’t get my wetsuit off my arms, and had to put a base layer on which got very stuck. My friend had time to walk from the swim exit to the bike mount line whilst I was still in transition – which demonstrates how slow I was!

I’m glad I put the layer on though because it was VERY cold on the bike. It was forecast to be lovely weather but there was a thick mist that the sun just couldn’t get through. The course was really pretty; donkeys and horses wandering around, and long straight stretches of road through the national park. For the first half my hands were totally numb so I did struggle a little to get food/drink into my mouth. Race nutrition was a bit of an unknown for me, but James said to eat/drink something every 20 mins which was great advice. For the majority of the bike I felt great, except the final 10 miles when I lost a little power.

It was nice to be back on 2 feet. The run course was two laps so my strategy was to do the first lap, and then just hang on for the second. Although my toes were pretty numb I managed to hit my race pace and already began to overtake quite a few people. I had a good battle with another girl – we had been overtaking each other a lot on the bike, but towards the end I got dropped. Then I overtook her on the run, and never saw her again!  🙂

As I had worn my Optima kit, a couple of people were cheering me which was awesome.

I thought the run would hurt a lot more, but I felt really good. James is always talking about “economy” so when I felt myself slowing a little, I tried to think of that, rather than how many more miles there were. I was feeling pretty positive, because I knew I had paced myself quite well.

The finish line was at the top of a really steep gravel track, so not a pretty final 50m. If I learnt one thing, it’s to study the course map more carefully as I didn’t know that the run was actually 14 miles, so mentally I was ready to finish after 13 and that made the final mile quite hard – I got a little grumpy! However the sun had come out by the end, so it was great to watch everyone else finishing. I love the encouraging and supportive atmosphere you get at local races.


I later saw I had won my age group (25-29) and come 9th overall female. I’m pretty happy with that! And may have caught the 70.3 bug…


  1. Louella O’Herlihy Zoom Tri F45 F 04:49:00.55


  1. Beatrice Chapman Optima Racing Team 05:06:20.05


  1. Ben Webeck ABCpure 04:10:30.95


  1. Thomas Wade Optima Racing Team 04:17:23.25


Full Results HERE